More than 30 million Americans are living just above the poverty line
They aren't in poverty, but they are just a step away from falling into its clutches. More than 30 million Americans are living just above the poverty line. These near poor, often defined as having incomes of up to 1.5 times the poverty threshold, were supporting a family of four on no more than $34,500 last year.
They are more likely to be white than those in poverty, according to a CNNMoney analysis of Census Bureau data. They are more likely to be elderly. They are more than three times as likely to work full-time, year-round. And they are more likely not to receive help from the government.
"People just above the poverty line are just one paycheck or health disaster away from poverty," said Katherine Newman, a dean at Johns Hopkins University. "They are still quite fragile."
The near poor have grown by about 10% in number over the past five years, as the Great Recession sent many people falling down the income ladder. The ranks of those in poverty, on the other hand, swelled 24% in the same period. Read more >>